Today, I wake up early and think.

Dearest friends bought me a livingsocial deal to make my own skincare products tonight (this shall be documented, of course), so I decided to take public transportation to work (I’ll omit the details). It really isn’t too terrible of a commute–about a little more than an hour of a trip. I hadn’t taken the metro in so long that I actually enjoyed it. The idea “distance makes the heart grown fonder” has appeared once again. 🙂 What is your commute to work/school/life like? What do you enjoy doing during that time? 

I recently received an email from a dear friend who is teaching in Indonesia and was impressed that she was able to wake up an extra hour early to be able to have some quiet thinking & reading time. While I do not have the ability to wake up that early, the hour-long commute gave me a moment and an excuse to have that alone time, to read or catch up on the morning news. Loved every second of it!

Waiting for the lovely, free circulator to carry me to the metro.

Exiting the duPont Circle Metro, long escalators scare me.

Waiting in line for the shuttle bus. It looks like a school-bus. I feel like a student, once again.

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Today, I reflect on the first year of Today Comma I.

I believe I am the last of the -arkies to reflect on our anniversary, so please excuse me for being late with this post. This past year has been so filled with unexpected twists and turns! Life after college is not at all what I expected it to be, but I already feel much wiser to the world. I have a little bit more insight into life and a clearer vision of where I want to be in five or ten years, and I am grateful for it.

Last August, we started this blog because our lives after Duke took us to disparate corners of the world. From Philadelphia to Budapest, to be exact! I was in a remote island of Hawaii when the other three -arkies started this blog, but they used the nicknames that I gave to them in college to preserve their secret identities. (Funny story, I first nicknamed Charlotte “Charkbait” after the funny scene in Finding Nemo where the other fish in the aquarium christen Nemo “Sharkbait.” I shortened it to Charkie, and she started calling me Arkie soon after. That was how these names were born.)

Once upon a time, we gathered in Charkie’s dorm room every night to recap news, do our homework, philosophize, and order in takeout. I must add that it would take us at least 30 minutes to decide on where to order. Because Charkie kept the cupboard in the corner of her room stocked with coffee and chai, we had no lack of caffeine to keep us working late into the night. No matter how stressed I was in college about classes or my career plans, I always had the comfort of these familiar faces and this familiar routine to come back to at night, and every day I had at Duke ended up being a great day.

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Charkie Hosts Arkie’s 19th Birthday

Those moments, though treasured, are gone forever, but this blog has kept us connected over shared interests. This past year, this blog has documented our cooking experiments, has followed us on nights out, been the reservoir for stress about exams, and even captured our excitement about the royal baby, haha! Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed being able to document life after graduation, and I have my fingers crossed that we’ll have tons of great stories to share in the coming years.

Today, there was Blue (Devil) Blood in the Dissection Room

I met another Dukie, in the anatomy dissection room, of all places! As it turns out, one of our TAs spent a year as a Blue Devil! We were always told that Duke connections could find us in random corners all over the globe, but now I’ve experienced it 🙂

I tend towards ambivalence about my time there. However, the more distance arises, the more I realize what my time at Duke did (and didn’t) do for me. One thing I’ve taken with me to medical school is being primed for failure. In a good way! It sounds terrible, and at times, it was a hard lesson, but at Duke, I got so used to underachieving compared to my goals, that it became normal. That allowed me to separate success from my sense of self worth, something I’m still working on, but that has served me well so far this semester. I find myself less stressed – perhaps to a fault, considering the exam crunch –  and more easygoing. I still want to do well and I do still aim high, but I don’t take the fall so personally or permanently.